“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along” … Paramahansa Yogananda
There’s a youtube clip going around of the African trail guide, Alan McSmith, remaining calm while an elephant charges at him.
Although as a experienced guide McSmith would be familiar with the signs about whether the elephant was aggressive or just threatening him, it is still a 15,000 pound animal coming at you. What is most noteworthy to me, is the way the guide stands there. I can feel the calm, grounded energy as he stands in the face of the charge.
The video is worth a thousand words in terms of how to stay calm through tough situations. Of course, this principle applies to tough conversations. How to stay calm in the face of difficult conversations was the basis of the book Judy Zehr and I wrote on this very topic. What that capacity requires is a practice of calmness. Do you move through your day with pauses to ensure you are calm or to bring yourself back to “yourself” if you are not calm? Such a practice could be as simple as setting your timer five times a day to remind yourself to put both feet on the floor, one hand on your belly and breathe a few times consciously.
I have done such a practice for months at a time, and it makes a measurable difference to one’s capacity to remain calm when a crisis occurs.
I’d love to hear your tips about how to continue to remain calm in the face of difficult situations (and in particular, in the face of conflict).